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Having good, clean, dirty fun

Noel Lewis creates obstacle course for community

Wanting to get people together safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, Noel Lewis has found a way: letting people run, climb and jump their way through an obstacle course in his yard.

“I wanted to do something positive for the community,” said the Zuni resident. He found inspiration from the times he ran a couple of Spartan races with his buddies, and discovered the challenges to be invigorating. Those competitions can feature marathon running and other intense physical exertions.

“It got in my blood,” said Lewis, who had also experienced such activity during his five-year stint in the Army several years ago.

Thinking more about what he and others could do to have fun and even stay in shape during this pandemic winter, Lewis started planning and setting up this past November and December.

The loop course measures about four miles and is outlined by orange flags with 20 different obstacles, such as climbing up and over a 7-1/2-foot tall wooden wall or using a rope to cross over a gorge. Carrying cinder blocks to and fro and climbing over hay bales are a couple other activities, all of which are sure to get a person dirty.

Lewis is calling his adventure “The Corrowaugh Swamp Mud Run,” because part of the course goes through those wetlands that are practically in his backyard.

“It’s a great thing for people who are moderately fit,” said Lewis. He engineered the course to be “kind of easy” and then become “progressively harder.”

Already family, his friends and friends of friends have participated in his homemade set-up.

Moving through the course, he emphasized, is not intended as a race that must be accomplished at all costs.

“People can make it as challenging as they want to, it’s up to them,” said Lewis. “But there’s no shame in not tackling all the obstacles. When I’m running I want to keep everyone on a small, tight-knit group to finish together and enjoy one another’s company.”

When not running or fine-tuning the course, Lewis works at Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding as a linesman, where he lays out the materials to be used for construction. His other vocation is being the husband of Leah and father to three boys, Simon, Stuart and Milo, the latter of which has participated in the mud run.

For people interested in taking on the challenge of the course, email noel.lewis@gmail.com.